Yesterday I wrote about the priestess/scribe Enheduanna and her warrior/king father Sargon. I posited their connection to the codification of patriarchy. They did not invent it, as war and the diminution of women had been happening in some circles. I do wonder, however, if they furthered it along to a point of no return.
Another king of the time, Urukagina from circa 2350 bce codified laws under the guise of reformation. Some of his reforms were progressive in that they sought to protect the poorer classes against aristocracy and the priesthood. But they also were clear to let women “know their place.” Here are the translated words from his laws:
“If a woman to a male has spoken . . .[bad] words(?) which exceed (her rank?), onto the teeth of that woman a baked brick shall be smashed, and that brick will be hung at the main gate.”
To be in the presence of antiquities is powerful. They carry an energy which is palpable. I found this to be true at the recent exhibit at the Morgan Library in Manhattan that ran from October 14, 2022 through February 19, 2023.
Enheduanna is a fascinating woman who lived in the lands of Mesopotamia circa the 23rd century BCE. She was a priestess who was also a writer and chronicler of her times. She named herself in her writings making her the first known author of any written works in history. She was so influential that for centuries after her death, scribes learned their craft in scribal schools by reading and copying out her work. Scholars have referred to her as the Sumerian Shakespeare
Her main temple was in Ur, the very city that hundreds of years later gave rise to the biblical priestess Sarah and her husband, Abraham. We can only image how much they had been influenced by her.